View Full Version : Can anyone tell me what this cooking technique is called?

06-30-2012, 01:05 PM
I'm a self-taught cook, and I learned through trial and error and experimentation. I don't like to use oil if I can help it, so I developed another method of pan-frying steaks and pork chops that I guess you could describe as "serial braising", but does it have a real name, and why don't I ever see it mentioned in cooking videos or websites?

The way it works is this... Season your meat (I like to use a blend of garlic powder, black pepper, Cajun spices, and Italian seasoning) and melt some butter in a pan on high heat. When the pan is hot and the butter melted, put in the meat and begin to sear it for 30 seconds or so. You should start to see some of the meat's juices beginning to brown on the bottom of the pan. Then add a little bit of water, just a few tablespoons or so, enough to cause the drying juices to bubble up again. Cover and cook for about 30-40 seconds, watching for the point at which the steam escaping from the covered pan dies down indicating the water has evaporated and the meat's juices and seasonings are once again beginning to brown onto the bottom of the pan. You flip the meat, let it sear for a bit, then again add a little water, enough that it'll cook away in under a minute, and you keep repeating this over and over until the meat is cooked. At the end, remove the meat and add a bit more water to reconstitute the juices one last time and pour the pan sauce over the meat. By keeping it covered the convection and steam help cook the meat through, and the juices of the meat and the seasonings soak into the meat during cooking, making it very juicy and tender.

You need to be careful not to add too much water or it'll just boil the meat and not have a chance to brown. And don't let it burn to the pan by waiting too long between additions of water. If you want to alter the flavor you could use a juice or wine instead of water, but I prefer to let the meat and spices natural flavor come through.

So, is there a name for this method of quick alternating between searing and braising/steaming or did I create something new? Has anyone here ever tried this? It's different from standard braising because in braising you sear only once, then add a lot of water and cook it low and slow for hours, usually in the oven, and the water is never supposed to burn off. This method is very fast, entirely on the stove-top, and you typically add very small amounts water 7-10 times, allowing it to cook away in between each time.

06-30-2012, 06:48 PM
I think it is just a steaming method. When you see the shows of diners cooking burgers or any meat on a hot top they add some liquid and cover to keep it moist. When I pan fry a steak I pre-heat the oven to 450 and after 2 minutes sear on each side throw it in the oven for 4 minutes and juicy steak every time!

07-01-2012, 03:18 AM
I made Black Angus tri-tip steaks tonight and used this method, so I took a few pictures.

Here they are cooking when the water has currently evaporated:


And here they are just after adding some water. I covered them with a lid each time I added water, and it steamed off in about a minute each time.


And on the plate!


They were very flavorful, I used a lot of Cajun and Italian spices, plus garlic powder, black pepper, and a bit of salt.

08-06-2012, 03:52 AM
Cooked another steak tonight and took more pictures, including some close-ups of the inside:



Then add a little water...


and cover to trap the heat and steam until it evaporates:


And repeat several times:


Until it is done:



So juicy and tender! Medium, jut how I like it, though others may like it a bit more rare.





You can see how juicy it was! And there was no oil, just water, a bit of butter, and the meat's own juices, so it wasn't greasy the way it can be in recipes that call for oil.

08-08-2012, 02:34 AM
I am a culinary school graduate and I would call it a braise/deglaze sort of method. A braise is cooking meat in a pan with a lid and just enough liquid to keep it moist. When you pour the water in your pan you are deglazing the pan and using the liquid as a sauce. This method might also be especially well suited for boneless chicken breast. Throw some slivers of garlic in and use chicken stock with some pepper and salt as well and you have a treat.

My favorite steak method is to sear it on the cook top in a cast iron skillet to get a nice crispy crust then finish it in the oven:

Set the oven to 500 degrees and let your iron skillet preheat in the oven. (It must be cast iron, no other pans can take that kind of heat) When the oven is preheated put the pan on high heat on the cook top for another minute or so and add a generous layer of kosher salt and ground pepper to the steak and then rub it down with a high smoke point oil like light tasting olive oil or peanut oil.

Sear each side for thirty seconds then finish in the oven for 2 minutes. It will seem like they are burning but 30 seconds will only sear the outside of the meat and produce fantastic flavors via the maillard reaction. After both sides are seared move the pan into the oven and let the steak finish for 2 minutes if it is a thin steak like an inch or less or if it is a thick steak like a 2 inch strip or ribeye flip it after two minutes and let it finish for two more minutes.

When it is done in the oven rest it for 5 minutes on a plate with an upturned saucer to keep the steak above the juices so you don't dissolve the crispy crust you created with the salt, pepper and olive oil. Once on the saucer tent the steak with some foil to keep it warm while it rests.

This method creates a lot of smoke so I make sure the exhaust fan is on high before I start.

There is nothing quite like a well browned crispy steak.

What ever you do don't pierce the steak until you are ready to eat it. The liquid will come out and you will have a dry tough steak. Also let your steak come to room temperature on the counter before cooking it.

The important thing is to cook it the way you enjoy it the most. Good food is one of life's great pleasures.